2010 Cal Football Spring Preview
Head coach Jeff Tedford
March 11, 2010
Cal begins its 2010 spring football practices having established itself as one of the Pac-10's top football programs under Jeff Tedford, who is now in ninth year with the Golden Bears and the longest-tenured head coach in the conference. Cal has won more games during the period of time he has been the team's head coach than every Pac-10 school other than USC. Cal has also been ranked among the nation's Top 25 at the conclusion of four of the last six campaigns (2004-06, '08) and in the Top 10 at some point during five of the last six years (2004-07, '09). In addition, the Bears have made seven consecutive bowl appearances since with a lofty 5-2 mark in those contests.
Tedford has placed himself among the top coaches in Cal history, tying the legendary Pappy Waldorf as Cal's modern-era victory leader with a win in the Big Game at Stanford. Tedford finished the 2009 campaign with an all-time mark of 67-35 (.657) at the school and will head into the 2010 season tied with Waldorf on the all-time win list within reach of both all-time leader Andy Smith (74-16-7, 1916-25) and James Schaeffer (73-16-8, 1909-15). Tedford has also made a name for himself nationally as one of only eight current Football Bowl Subdivision coaches to have a current string of at least eight consecutive winning seasons with only six accomplishing the feat at the same school.
But none of these accomplishments are what Tedford and the Bears are thinking as they delve into 15 practice sessions that span a six-week period from March 11 - April 22.
Tedford is clear about his focus this spring and what his team needs to accomplish. "It is important that you evaluate everybody on your team in the spring, especially some of the young guys who haven't had the opportunity to play in many games yet," said Tedford. "We will focus on that to help us determine the type of depth we have at each position."
An accurate two-deep is not expected until after the conclusion spring practice and perhaps even into training camp next August.
"It's really important that the coaching staff takes this opportunity that we have right now in 15 practices to make sure everyone is evaluated," said Tedford. "But, it's important for the guys to understand that this is just a starting point for them to be able to make an impression. We will continue to evaluate through training camp. We have a lot of work to do everywhere and this is a great time to improve. We're just going to enjoy the process and each day that we have together to get better."
Tedford also explains that this spring's workouts are especially critical as an opportunity to have the players and the team's two new coaches become familiar with one another. Defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast was hired for his current role in mid-February. Special teams coordinator/tight ends coach Jeff Genyk has been in his job since mid-January.
"We have two new coaches playing critical roles on our staff," said Tedford. "It is important that they learn the personnel and our guys learn the schematics of what we're doing in their areas."
Tedford and his fellow coaches will work with a group of players this spring that includes 20 returning starters (9 offense, 7 defense, 4 special teams) from a 2009 Cal squad that posted an 8-5 overall record and was 5-4 in the Pac-10 to tie for fifth place in the conference standings with USC. The Bears have a total of 55 letterwinners returning to a 94-player spring roster that also includes 34 of those that redshirted or played but didn't learn a letter in 2009 and five that are beginning their Cal careers this spring.
Cal's roster features two players that earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors last year in LB Mike Mohamed and P Bryan Anger. Mohamed was the Pac-10's leading tackler with 112 stops, while Anger averaged 41.5 yards per punt including 14 of 50 or more yards and 24 occasions where he pinned opponents within their own 20-yard line.
A group of returning 2009 honorable mention All-Pac-10 choices - DB Sean Cattouse (37 tackles, started last six games at safety), OL Chris Guarnero (started all 13 games at C), DL Cameron Jordan (48 tackles, 9.5 TFL, 6.0 SK), TE Anthony Miller (26 receptions, 357 yards), OL Mitchell Schwartz (started all 13 games at RT) and TB Shane Vereen (952 rushing yards as a part-time starter) - is starting to emerge as well.
The following pages contain a position-by-position look at the Golden Bears heading into 2010 spring practice. A recruiting class of 20 newcomers that was ranked as high as No. 11 nationally by Rivals and additional walk-ons will join this group when training camp opens in early August.
Coach (Offensive Coordinator) - Andy Ludwig
Allan Bridgford (RFr.), Brock Mansion (Jr.), Kevin Riley (Sr.), Beau Sweeney (So.), Ryan Wertenberger (So.)
Head coach Jeff Tedford has emphasized during the off-season that there will be an open competition for the team's starting quarterback role this spring that could extend into training camp in August. Tedford has admitted that Kevin Riley is the front-runner to retain his job after starting all 13 games last year and posting a 17-6 record in 23 career starts, but he also is adamant about getting Beau Sweeney and Brock Mansion the reps they need this spring to compete for the job.
"We need to make sure that everyone gets reps this spring," said Tedford. "I want to be able to take a good look at all of our quarterbacks."
Riley's numbers were solid in 2009 as he completed 209-of-382 passes for 2,850 yards with 18 touchdowns and only eight interceptions. In fact, Riley's passing yardage was the fourth-highest single-season total in Cal history while his touchdowns tied for 10th.
Mansion started the season as the team's No. 2 quarterback but was passed by Sweeney early in the campaign. However, neither quarterback saw much action with Sweeney completing 5-of-9 passes for 45 yards and Mansion missing on his only attempt.
Neither Ryan Wertenberger nor Allan Bridgford played in 2009. Bridgford, who is expected to miss this spring after off-season shoulder surgery, utilized his redshirt season as a true freshman last year.
Coach - Ron Gould
Trajuan Briggs (Fr., TB), Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson (Jr., TB), Nico Dumont (RFr., FB), Will Kapp (Jr., FB), Isi Sofele (So., TB), Eric Stevens (So., FB), John Tyndall (Jr., FB), Shane Vereen (Jr., TB), Dasarte Yarnway (RFr., TB)
The Bears lost both of their 2009 backfield starters with the departures of TB Jahvid Best and FB Brian Holley but are confident they can replace the productive duo. Best started 19 of the 31 contests he competed in during three seasons at Cal. He earned a second-team All-American selection by College Football News and the second of his two first-team All-Pac-10 honors as a 2008 sophomore when he rushed for 1,580 yards (No. 2 on Cal's single-season list) and a school-record-tying 15 rushing touchdowns. He finished his career ranked tied for third on Cal's all-time list for rushing TDs (29), as well as tied for fourth in total TDs (39) and seventh in rushing yards (2,668).
Shane Vereen, who started the final four games last season after Best suffered a season-ending injury against Oregon State on Nov. 7, is most likely his heir apparent at tailback. Vereen earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors last season despite coming off the bench to spell Best for most of the season's first nine games. He finished as the team's leading rusher with 952 yards on 183 carries (5.2 ypr) and equaled Best's 12 rushing touchdowns. Vereen had a career day to lead the Bears to a Big Game win at Stanford, carrying the ball 42 times for 193 yards and three touchdowns. He rushed for 566 yards on 108 carries after taking as the team's starter.
Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson (31 rushes, 226 yards, 1 TD) and Isi Sofele (12 rushes, 82 yards, 1 TD) saw limited action in 2009 but are expected to compete for a spot alongside Vereen for a Cal rushing attack that has traditionally shared the bulk of the workload between two tailbacks. Trajuan Briggs, Langston Jackson and Dasarte Yarnway are the team's other tailbacks this spring and should get a good look with one of Tedford's primary spring goals developing a complimentary player to Vereen. Both Briggs and Yarnway missed their respective 2009 seasons with injuries, with the early enrollee Briggs going down with an ankle injury in an early season prep game and Yarnway suffering a knee injury during training camp of his true freshmen season.
Coach - Kevin Daft
Ian Albrecht (Jr.), Ross Bostock (So.), Jackson Bouza (RFr.), Michael Calvin (Jr.), Spencer Hagan (RFr.), Marvin Jones (Jr.), Kaulin Krebs (So.), Alex Lagemann (Jr.), Jeremy Ross (Sr.), Quinn Tedford (So.)
Marvin Jones has arguably emerged as one of the top receivers in the Pac-10 after posting career-highs of 43 receptions, 651 yards receiving and six touchdown catches last year to lead the Bears in all three categories. He was consistent as he caught at least one ball in all 13 games and made at least three receptions in 10 contests. Jones also finished the season strong with 20 catches for 261 yards over his final four contests, including his first career 100-yard game at Washington when he also had a career-high six catches for 107 yards.
Jeremy Ross is the second-most productive returning receiver after making 22 catches for 344 yards and one touchdown last season. Ross is known for his explosive speed that was on display against Washington State when he had three plays of more than 50 yards, returning a punt 54 yards, catching a pass for 61 yards and bringing back a kickoff 76 yards for a touchdown.
The only other returner receiver with significant stats in 2009 is Alex Lagemann, who contributed 12 catches and 150 yards receiving in 11 games with one start a year ago. Michael Calvin had one catch for nine yards.
The remainder of the team's spring roster includes six players - Ian Albrecht, Ross Bostock, Jackson Bouza, Spencer Hagan, Kaulin Krebs and Quinn Tedford - that are looking for their first collegiate catch. Bostock did get into a pair of games in 2009, while Tedford played in one.
Coach - Jeff Genyk
Solomona Aigamaua (Jr.), Savai'i Eselu (Jr.), Garry Graffort (Sr.), Spencer Ladner (So.), Anthony Miller (Jr.), Jarrett Sparks (So.)
Anthony Miller looks to be the clear cut favorite to retain his job as the team's starter at tight end after a breakout sophomore season in 2009. Miller became a primary weapon in the offense a year ago, catching 26 balls for 357 yards to rank third on the team in both categories and could become one of the nation's top tight ends in 2010.
With Miller in the fold as the starter, the situation is much different than in 2009 when Miller was one of several inexperienced players looking to replace Cameron Morrah after his early departure for the NFL Draft.
Most of the other players that Miller battled for the starting job last year are still on the squad and will look to make more contributions in 2010. Jarrett Sparks was the only player in the group to record stats last season with three catches for 45 yards, but Spencer Ladner recovered from a series of early-season injuries to become an effective blocker and Garry Graffort also saw action at the position. Savai'i Eselu returns after making his collegiate debut against Eastern Washington last season, while Solomona Aigamaua will work out with the tight ends this spring after spending his previous three seasons in the program as a linebacker.
Coach - Steve Marshall
Mark Brazinski (RFr.), Justin Cheadle (Jr.), Sam DeMartinis (Jr.), Donovan Edwards (Sr.), T.J. Emery (Jr.), Richard Fisher (Sr.), Dominic Galas (So.), Justin Gates (Jr.), Chris Guarnero (Sr.), Ed Johnston (RFr.), Charles Ragland (RFr.), Tyler Rigsbee (So.), Mitchell Schwartz (Jr.), Brian Schwenke (So.), Charles Siddoway (RFr.), Matt Summers-Gavin (So.)
Much of the team's 2009 offensive line remains intact with the return of four starters. Honorable mention All-Pac-10 choice and emerging national honors candidate Mitchell Schwartz extended his string of consecutive starts to 26 by starting all 13 games for the second consecutive season a year ago. Schwartz spent last season at right tackle and is expected to remain there in 2010. He played left tackle as a redshirt freshman in 2008.
Chris Guarnero and Justin Cheadle also return after starting all 13 games a year ago at center and right guard, respectively, with Guarnero garnering honorable mention All-Pac-10 recognition last season.
Matt Summers-Gavin is the team's other returning starter but missed five contests last year as a redshirt freshmen due to injuries. A third-team 2009 Freshman All-American selection by Phil Steele, Summers-Gavin showed his effectiveness when he was healthy enough to be in the lineup as the Bears posted a 7-1 mark in the eight games he started.
Cal will need to replace first-team All-Pac-10 choice Mike Tepper, who started all 13 games at the critical left tackle position last season. Mark Boskovich, who replaced Summers-Gavin during the five games he missed due to injury, will graduate in May and forego his final season of eligibility.
Although four starters return, their specific positions on the line are not set in stone. Guarnero may work some at guard in the spring to allow for promising center candidates Dominic Galas and Mark Brazinski to take more snaps.
Of the remaining group of offensive linemen the three that picked up the most playing time last season were Donovan Edwards, Richard Fisher and Brian Schwenke. Sam DeMartinis, T.J. Emery, Justin Gates, Ed Johnston, Charles Ragland, Tyler Rigsbee and Charles Siddoway will all be looking for their first collegiate action in 2010 and round out the group of 15 offensive linemen expected to go through spring drills.
Coach - Tosh Lupoi
Austin Clark (RFr.), Deandre Coleman (RFr.), Michael Costanzo (Sr.), Trevor Guyton (Jr.), Derrick Hill (Sr.), Cameron Jordan (Sr.), Keni Kaufusi (RFr.), Ernest Owusu (Jr.), Kendrick Payne (So.), Aaron Tipoti (So.)
Cal will feature three defensive linemen on its 2010 roster that combined to start 27 games last season but will need to find a way to replace Tyson Alualu, who started all 39 games on the defensive line over the past three campaigns. Last year, Alualu led all Pac-10 defensive linemen with 65 tackles after recording the most tackles by a Cal defensive lineman since 1995 the previous season when he posted 62.
Cameron Jordan had the biggest 2009 numbers of all the returnees, recording 48 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, 6.0 sacks and five quarterback hurries while starting all 13 games at the defensive end position opposite Alualu in the team's 3-4 defense.
Derrick Hill (18 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 2.0 SK, 8 starts), Aaron Tipoti (21 tackles, 0.5 TFL, 4 starts) and Kendrick Payne (13 tackles, 4.0 TFL, 1.0 SK, 1 PBU, 1 FR, 2 starts) combined for the remainder of the 2009 starts on the defensive line.
Deandre Coleman (2009 redshirt), Michael Costanzo (4 tackles, 1.0 TFL), Trevor Guyton (13 tackles, 4.0 TFL, 1.0 SK, 1 FF), Keni Kaufusi (2009 redshirt) and Ernest Owusu (7 tackles, 3.0 TFL, 2.0 SK, 1 PBU) are all in the running to take over Alaulu's starting spot, or at the least significantly increase their playing time. Austin Clark (2009 redshirt) will look to work into the nose tackle mix.
Coach - Kenwick Thompson
Keith Browner (Sr.), Dan Camporeale (RFr.), Ryan Davis (Jr.), Steven Fanua (RFr.), D.J. Holt (Jr.), J.P. Hurrell (So.), Charles Johnson (Sr.), Mychal Kendricks (Jr.), Lucas King (Fr.), Kameron Krebs (So.), Chris Little (So.), Jerome Meadows (Sr.), Mike Mohamed (Sr.), Robert Mullins (So.), Clark Porter (Jr.), Jarred Price (Sr.), Nick Rosato (So.)
Mike Mohamed is a national awards candidate and expected to be one of the top defensive players in the country in his final season at Cal in 2010. Last year, Mohamed led the Pac-10 in tackles and earned first-team all-conference honors a year. He recorded 112 tackles in 2009 to go along with 8.0 tackles for loss, 2.0 sacks and three interceptions, including perhaps the most memorable play of the season when he intercepted Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck at Cal's three-yard line with the Cardinal driving for the go-ahead score late in the game. Mohamed is also a two-time Pac-10 All-Academic selection.
D.J. Holt's eight starts in 2009 are the second-most by any returnee and were spread among the different linebacker positions he played last year. Holt finished with 37 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and a fumble recovery a year ago.
Mychal Kendricks started the team's first five games last year but only one of its last eight. He still finished second on the team with 71 tackles, while adding 6.0 TFL, 1.0 sacks, one interception, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries, including one that he ran back 45 yards for a score against Eastern Washington.
Cal has the No. 2 ranked incoming class of linebackers by Rivals in its 2010 signing class, so the importance of the workouts for all the current linebackers this spring is critical to their prospects of playing time next season knowing that several of the newcomers could contribute immediately.
Returnees Keith Browner (5 tackles, 0.5 TFL), J.P. Hurrell (10 tackles, 0.5 TFL), Charles Johnson (10 tackles, 0.5 TFL, 0.5 SK), Chris Little (10 tackles, 1.0 TFL, 1.0 SK, 1 FF), Jerome Meadows (4 tackles, 0.5 TFL) and Jarred Price (6 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 2.5 SK) are all looking for increased playing time after playing sparingly last year.
Dan Camporeale, Ryan Davis, Steven Fanua and Clark Porter all redshirted last year, while Robert Mullins and Nick Rosato missed the campaign due to injury. Oregon State transfer Kameron Krebs and 2009 greyshirt Lucas King are the team's other players at the position.
The current linebackers and next year's incoming class will be looking to fill the shoes of two of the team's top five tacklers from 2009 in Devin Bishop and Eddie Young, both of whom finished their final collegiate season with 56 tackles.
Coach - Al Simmons
Marc Anthony (So.), D.J. Campbell (Jr.), Sean Cattouse (Jr.), Chris Conte (Sr.), Tyré Ellison (So.), Darian Hagan (Sr.), Josh Hill (So.), Alex Logan (RFr.), C.J. Moncrease (Jr.), Bryant Nnabuife (Sr.), Vachel Samuels (RFr.), Charles Satchell (So.), Steve Williams (DB), Tyler York (Fr.)
The 2010 defensive backfield will look vastly different than last season with starters Marcus Ezeff, Brett Johnson and Syd'Quan Thompson completing their collegiate eligibility in 2009. Thompson started all 52 games possible during his collegiate career to set a new Cal record and also finished his career as the school's all-time leader in pass breakups (36). He picked up two in his final collegiate contest at the Poinsettia Bowl to pass former record holder Chidi Iwuoma by a single breakup.
The returnee who saw the most action last season is Sean Cattouse, who replaced Ezeff as the team's starter at one safety position for the final five regular-season games and started in front of Johnson at the Poinsettia Bowl when Ezeff moved back into the starting lineup. Cattouse finished with 37 tackles to earn honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors in 2009 and is a vocal leader who was also named the team's Most Inspirational Player.
All three players - Darian Hagan, Josh Hill, Bryant Nnabuife - that split the 13 starts at the cornerback position opposite Thompson in 2009 are also back. Hagan (30 tackles, 3.0 TFL, 5 PBU) had started all 13 games along with Thompson in 2008 and was the starter last year for the first three games but only one of the final 10 contests. Hill (34 tackles, 2 INT, 1 FR, 1 FF) came on for Hagan in the fourth game of the season and started five of the next six contests (Hagan started the other) before he was replaced as the starter for the final four games by Nnabuife (30 tackles, 2.0 TFL).
Chris Conte, who has played both cornerback and safety during his Cal career but figures to see most of his action as a senior this season at safety, seems to have the best shot at starting alongside Cattouse in 2010. Conte came off the bench in 12 of his 13 appearances last season, recording 25 tackles and a pass breakup. Other returning defensive backs that saw action last year include D.J. Campbell (14 tackles, 2 FR) and C.J. Moncrease (6 tackles, 1 FF).
Returnees Tyré Ellison, Alex Logan and Charles Satchell are also looking to break into the action at safety. Ellison and Logan (redshirt) did not play last year, while Satchell was listed as a wide receiver who received most of his playing time on special teams. Tyler York, a greyshirt in 2009, will also be participating in spring practice.
Coach - Jeff Geynk
Bryan Anger (Jr., P), Vince D'Amato (So., PK), Brandon Madueno (RFr., LS), Clark Porter (Jr., LS), Matt Rios (So., LS), David Seawright (Jr., PK), Giorgio Tavecchio (Jr., PK)
The Bears' specialists are led by All-American and Ray Guy Award candidate Bryan Anger, who earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors in 2009. Anger averaged 41.5 yards per punt last year but also pinned opponents inside their 20-yard line 24 times and blasted 14 punts of 50 or more yards. He has a career 42.3 yards per punt average and was the only freshman in the nation to be named a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award in 2008 when he averaged 43.1 yards per punt to earn first-team Freshman All-America status and second-team All-Pac-10 recognition.
The placekicking duties were shared primarily by Vince D'Amato and Giorgio Tavecchio last year and both are back. D'Amato and Tavecchio each had 12 field goal attempts a year ago with Tavecchio's eight conversions one better than the seven posted by D'Amato. Both were perfect on their point after tries with D'Amato nailing 35-of-35 and Tavecchio hitting on all 14 of his attempts. David Seawright, who did not have a field goal or extra point attempt last season, is also returning to the squad. He kicked off four times in the team's first three games a year ago and filled in along with Tavecchio as a part-time starter in 2008 after an early season injury to starter David Kay. Seawright made five of his seven field goal attempts in 2008 and all 26 of his extra-point tries.
Several players are candidates for the return game with Shane Vereen the team's most experienced kick returner after bringing back 24 kicks for 551 yards and a 23.0 yard per return mark last year. Jeremy Ross and Isi Sofele are two intriguing candidates. Ross led the team with nine punt returns for 192 yards and a TD on a 76-yard return against Washington State. He was also second on the squad behind Vereen in kick returns with 14 for 276 yards and a 19.7 average. Sofele did not return any punts but did bring back 12 kicks for 248 yards and a 20.7 average as the team's primary kick returner in the last two games. One of the punts he brought back was a memorable 65-yarder at Washington.
LAST UPDATED: March 13, 2010